Hearing loss is a progressive condition that often develops so gradually, you may be unaware of it for some time. That’s where a hearing evaluation comes in. The earlier you detect a hearing loss, the more flexibility you’ll have in treating it, and the better your chances for success. Your audiologist may recommend either a hearing screening or hearing test. Though they sound the same, there are subtle differences between the two that you should be aware of beforehand.
A hearing screening is a quick, simple test that uses a pure tone audiometer to determine the likelihood of a hearing loss. Results are pass or fail. A pass suggests your hearing is within normal levels, while a fail indicates that further testing by an audiologist or licensed hearing professional is needed to verify the extent of your hearing loss. Hearing screenings cannot determine the need for amplification such as a hearing aid, and are considered merely the first step in a thorough hearing evaluation.
A hearing test is a more comprehensive evaluation that measures or quantifies your hearing loss. Known as Pure Tone Threshold, it requires the patient to wear headphones to test each ear separately. They listen to multiple frequencies and respond to determine the softest volume heard at each frequency. A hearing test is a crucial component in understanding the effects of hearing loss.
More advanced hearing tests are available, if your audiologist needs more information. These include bone conduction tests, speech tests, acoustic reflex tests, and tympanogram. Any combination of the above may be utilized to narrow down the type and severity of your hearing loss.